Do social classes hang more with the same social class?

Further, how "reasonable" phenomenon this is?

  • $\begingroup$ I think the answer is such an obvious "yes" that you'll be hard pressed to find formal studies about it; generally to get funding the question asked needs to exceed the "duh, obvious" level. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2018 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ I've attempted to answer your question here since we have a sociology tag (added) and friendships presumably have a significant psychological component... but I also see the case for your question being only marginally on-topic on P&N. Alas, there isn't a sociology.SE as far as I know. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2018 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


If we take "social class" to mean income/wealth as it's most commonly the case in the West today, then there's even an academic term for the uncommon friendships across such classes, namely "income-bridging". As for their occurence, let me quote you from a paper by Léna Pellandini-Simányi (which happens to survey Hungarian society, but I think it easily generalizable across the Western world):

Many of the income-bridging friendships are between former classmates whose class position diverged, yet who kept their old friendship alive.

Let me tell you from personal experience that this is 100% the case for me, if we take the "income-bridging" to mean a tenfold difference in income.

Also from the same paper on Hungary, this interesting bit regarding the socialist past:

During socialism, status-bridging friendships were not more frequent in Hungary than in capitalist societies, contrary to the image of an egalitarian and open society promoted by political public discourse. [... However] It is important to note that these [socialist-era] studies measured class by education and working position, omitting income.

The last part kinda reminds me of joke/advice along the lines of: don't get a PhD to impress your friends, once you get a PhD most of your friends will have one.


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